2018-2019 Teacher of the Year Finalists Named

  • Five Springfield Public Schools teachers have been named finalists for the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year. Selected from 138 nominations, all five will be recognized Monday, April 16, during the Teacher Appreciation Banquet.  Beginning at 5:30 and held at the Oasis Convention Center, the banquet is hosted by Foundation for Springfield Public Schools. 

    The finalists are: 

    Amy Bolinger, second grade teacher, Watkins Elementary School

    Amy Bolinger Each teacher in my education journey taught me how to be confident, resilient and grateful for every educational opportunity afforded me.  Each teacher helped to fortify a strong foundation for the love of learning.  As an adult, I seek to pay it forward, instilling this hope and belief in my students.  They can be what they wish and work for, especially when they have someone behind them who really believes in them.




    Joshua Cantrell, communication arts teacher, Central High School

    Joshua Cantrell As I grew as a teacher, I soon realized that I needed to give my students what they were missing in other areas of their lives:  positive adult role models, attention, safety, security, acceptance, trust, faith, belief.  To properly teach is to give through service, without reservation or hesitation, and to build up others around you so they may become the greatest version of themselves.





    Bethany Hubbell, second grade teacher, Jeffries Elementary School

    Bethany Hubbell Teaching is a true passion for me.  Throughout my career, I’ve experienced exciting highs and difficult lows.  In the end, it’s the kids that keep me coming back with a smile on my face day after day.  Knowing that they are counting on me every day, makes me want to be the best teacher I can be for them.  Seeing the true joy and pride on their face when they figure out that tricky word or solve a challenging math problem is the greatest reward.  Those “light-bulb moments” are what my job is all about.




    Jean Lawson, special education teacher, Truman Elementary School

    Jean Lawson My role as a teacher goes beyond the students in my room.  I work with their parents, paras, other teachers at my school and in the district, teachers around the country and the world.  Training, sharing and gleaning ideas is what makes us all more effective with those who have autism.  The sky truly is the limit in working with students with autism.  Our role is to help them be more comfortable in a world that can be very confusing, so that they can develop skills that will open doors for their future, whatever that may be for them.




    Audra Uzzell, Scholars teacher, Phelps Center for the Gifted

    Audra Uzzell If you ask me what my philosophy of education is, I would say develop real honest relationships and help each other to be better; better problem solvers, better mathematicians, better students, and better humans, because just when you think you are the best, you can be better.  There is always someone better and you can always learn from them.




    The 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year winner will be announced during the banquet and will then be eligible to compete at the regional level.  Regional winners advance to a statewide competition. 

     Contact the Foundation, (417) 523-0144, for more information about the Teacher Appreciation Banquet.